Second round of tourist discount program begins in quake-hit Ishikawa

The second round of a Japanese government-backed subsidy program to support tourism in quake-hit areas in central Japan has begun. This round, which began on Tuesday, only covers Ishikawa Prefecture.

The government introduced the program earlier this year to help areas affected by the Noto Peninsula earthquake that struck on New Year's Day.

The second round package offers discounts on accommodation of up to 20,000 yen, or about 130 dollars, per night for stays at facilities in the prefecture through the end of July. The size of the discount is the same as the first round.

An extra budget has been allocated for facilities that are accommodating people who cannot return home due to quake damage.
An inn in Kaga City's Yamanaka Onsen area has allotted about half of its 48 guest rooms for quake-affected people.

It began offering the discount service for tourist reservations in April. It says there's been a good response from prospective customers, and expects a surge in the number of guests.

But the facility has decided to accept regular guests only on weekends to give priority to providing sufficient services for quake-hit people.

The inn's manager, Nakano Akira, said the quake-affected people may be somewhat annoyed if the inn accepts tourists. But he said he believes that they understand the business aspect of the facility and are supportive.